Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Adeline Seward, June 21, 1859

  • Posted on: 10 November 2021
  • By: admin
Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Adeline Seward, June 21, 1859



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Distributor:Seward Family Digital Archive

Institution:University of Rochester

Repository:Rare Books and Special Collections


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Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Adeline Seward, June 21, 1859

action: sent

sender: William Seward
Birth: 1801-05-16  Death: 1872-10-10

location: London, England, UK

receiver: Frances Seward
Birth: 1844-12-09  Death: 1866-10-29

location: Auburn, NY

transcription: lmd 

revision: amr 2021-01-30


Page 1


Editorial Note

William Henry Seward’s series of travel letters in 1859 are organized and listed by the date of each entry.
Tuesday June 21, 1859 London
My Dearest Fanny, Let me not omit to
say at the earliest moment that your letter
and your mothers
Birth: 1805-09-24 Death: 1865-06-21
of the 4th instant just
now received have made me very cheerful
and happy. They were written under the
influence of the telegraphic announcement that
the Ariel had passed beyond the dangers
of the Atlantic but before you had any
advices direct from myself: I feel that I
am hardly worthy of such solicitude as
was felt for me during my voyage. God
bless you both and all my dear friends
and relations.
I do not think it worth while to
note in these letters the mistakes and annoyances
which I occasionally encounter. You must not
think however that my life here is free from
them. Instance three of late occurrence.
I have a standing order of the Speaker
Birth: 1800-01-27 Death: 1873-03-07
admission to the debates in the Commons. On
the night of the final decision and defeat
of the Ministry, I left my seat at half past
7 to go to dinner at the Marquess of Westminster
Birth: 1795-01-27 Death: 1869-10-31

I returned at 11 just in the hour of the crisis
Page 2

A doorkeeper
was on duty who did not know
me – and yet said he did. He refused to take
my card to any member and so turned me off
among the many hundreds of Englishmen who
were denied admittance. I had only the
alternatives of asserting my name with its title
to favor, or of going away unknown. I chose
the latter. but I have not pained my friends
by telling them of the adventure.
A second. My rooms at Fentons
Hotel were taken when I arrived to hold
until the 10th of June. On that day I was
obliged to seek lodgings elsewhere which
I found at Beatties Hotel near by where
the Napiers
x Birth: 1823-12-20  Death: 1911-08-24  Birth: 1819-09-19  Death: 1898-12-19 
lodge. These I could have only
until the 20th. So yesterday I was moved
back again to Fentons in St James.
A third. When I was going away to
Cambridge I studied my engagements. There
was one for dinner (expressly made for me)
at Sir Henry Hollands
Birth: 1788-10-27 Death: 1873-10-27
) for the 18th, at
No 25 Brooke Street. I read the 25th Number
25 for the day of the dinner, and on returning
from Cambridge on the 19th found that I had
Page 3

blunderingly not only lost a dinner which
I anticipated with so much pleasure as it would
bring me to an acquaintance with the family
x Birth: 1840-03-25  Death: 1898-08-30 Certainty: Probable Birth: 1835-01-29  Death: 1909-04-05 Certainty: Probable Birth: 1802-01-31  Death: 1866-11-02 Certainty: Probable
^the late^ Sidney Smith
Birth: 1771-06-03 Death: 1845-02-22
, but had disorganized the
whole party.
Bless me, how little of all I
see do I find time to describe to you. I
took th my seat on Saturday morning in the train
for Oxford delivered a letter or two, found that
my arrival was expected. And immediately
on my arrival was taken through the famous
Bodleian Library one of the greatest in the world
then through the Radcliffe Library little less
ambitious, then to the great museum of natural
science, then to dinner by the Professor of
, then through ancient Halls and
Chapels and to the summits of many ancient
and unique Gothic towers, then to a musical
party attended by the under graduates in these letters the mistakes – and
then fagged and wearied to the verge of death
consigned to a luxurious bed at the Vice Chancellors
Birth: 1806-05-22 Death: 1868-08-21

I began the ^next^ morning with other Sunday with
attendance at the bidding to prayers and a sermon
Page 4

at All Souls. An annual sermon to establish and
maintain the doctrine of the Trinity. This over
I strolled in the gardens of the New College
(five hundred years old) the walls of which
were the defences of Charles the First


he held his court here and stood the siege
of Cromwell
Birth: 1599-04-25 Death: 1658-09-03
, thence to morning prayer at
Corpus Christi at one, thence to luncheon
at the Deans
Birth: 1811-02-06 Death: 1898-01-18
of Christ Church with a
very intellectual party, and we then to
bidding to Prayers and a sermon by the
Revered Dr Milman
Birth: 1791-02-10 Death: 1868-09-24
the reverend and
excellent Dean of St Pauls of London,
and thence to evening prayer ^at the University chapel^ celebrated by
a full choir at five. All the University
appearing in their places and in their
ecclesiastical and academic robes. There
I sat face to face with Dr Pusey
Birth: 1800-08-22 Death: 1882-09-16
a canon
of Christ Church and afterwards I conversed with
his daughter
Birth: 1833-05-04 Death: 1910-10-12
and his niece
. Little did
they all seem to know the commotion his
opinions had excited.
Page 5

The day
closed with a
very intellectual din-
ner party at the Vice
Chancellors Dr Jeunes – in which
as the a representative of the Republican
party of the United States on which the
hopes of freedom rest I had such attention.
The next morning, Monday, I strolled by myself
alone to walk on the banks of the Isis amid the
groves over the walks of Addison
Birth: 1672-05-01 Death: 1719-06-17
and I returned
to my lodgings over the ground where Latimer
 Death: 1555-10-16
 Death: 1556-03-21

and Ridley
 Death: 1555-10-16
surrendered their bodies to the flames
in proof of their devotion to the truths of the Protestant
Religion. There are nineteen colleges in the University
at Oxford. They all are Gothic, and nearly all
were founded by Catholic Kings or Bishops. Antiquity
lends them a deep interest. History records the trials
of faith and the contests of creeds even to the
trial of the stake and to the siege– and now they
are all buttresses of the Hierarchy and the Aristocracy
of this great realm of England. Nevertheless the
spirit of the Age maintains an earnest debate
with that of Conservatism at Oxford
and it is easy to see that before a
very long time Oxford will
either become voluntarily
a national institution
or it will be
by revolu-